The American mind is exceedingly uncomfortable with the idea that reality is fluid and not static.
Indeed, no two of us will experience reality exactly the same. That’s because reality is a person. While all of us will share enough experience to recognize the identity of reality in a conversation, there will be some variation because we each have our own unique quirks that reality has to deal with. So it’s quite possible that something very real to me sounds like wild imagination to you because you didn’t experience that in dealing with reality.
Again, the mind rebels at such a notion; it’s not logical. That is, it’s not consistent with the common American assumptions about reality. It’s foreign to our culture and education system. Everything in America screams that reality is dead, inert and static. At the same time, there is an underlying mythology we nurture that says the natural world is spooky and full of demonic creatures. We are taught to suspect that there is always hovering just out of line of sight some inexplicable malevolence that gives substance to our nightmares and horror fiction.
That peculiar outlook is a mixture of pagan cultural sources, of the Greco-Roman world colliding with the uncivilized Germanic tribes that conquered Europe at the end of the Roman Empire. That’s a long, long way from the Holy Land. It’s radically different from the outlook of Hebrew people. In the Bible, this is our Father’s world. There are plenty of things that can hurt us, but the only real malevolence in the natural world is in our imaginations. It’s not what God made.
But the scariest part of this is that reality has a tendency to grant some measure of your expectations, as any real person would. If you remain fixed on the notion that the universe is mostly inert matter, then your experiences will tend to back that notion. If you believe that the natural world is filled with terrors waiting the right moment to fall on you, that will seem to be what happens just enough to confirm that suspicion. While it will never be a perfect match, it will tend to be just enough to keep you locked in your self-deception.
Of course, your heart knows better, but if your mind remains closed to the rule of the heart, it can scarcely leak into your awareness. Your heart will not communicate with your mind unless your mind kneels. The natural fallen instinct of the mind is to arrogantly seize the throne, and it refuses to bow the knee voluntarily. Your conscious self has to decide by faith to trust in a higher power and command the reason to stand down.
It will feel like dying. That’s the business of facing the Flaming Sword on the path back to Eden. That Sword has to pierce your own heart and change your nature before you can in turn take hold of it’s handle and wield it. And forever after, you will be consciously wielding it on your own soul. The only thing in this world you can change is yourself.
Once that change begins, you will approach reality differently. You will have to find the anchor of your personal reality inside yourself in the divine Presence of the Holy Spirit. The intellect hates this whole thing, so you’ll be fighting yourself the rest of your natural life. It does get better, but the fallen Adam never stays nailed to the Cross. On top of this, you’ll spend quite some time sorting through a whole host of false expectations in your mind once it admits to this truth.
Again: The ultimate center of reality is inside you. Otherwise, you are stuck with the delusion that it is outside of you and that your intellect is capable of making sense of it. Your intellect likes to pretend it doesn’t take any hints from your fallen lusts, but the mind is part of our fallen nature. Thus, your intellect will claim that it can pull together a cold and hard vision of reality and logic, but the whole thing is infested with fleshly desire. This is why we can all agree on the rules of logic, but not what is logical in terms of what we should do. There will always be debate that appears logical, but is stained with competing individual desires.
Without the pretense of objectivity, you realize that the best you can do is trust and obey from the heart and let God handle the rest. You can ditch that driving necessity of convincing or forcing others to do things your way. You might well have to fight with them when they transgress on your mission and calling from God, but you won’t feel you have to convince them you are right. All you really need is to keep them out of your business as much as possible. The fight stops when they back off. Their personal delusions are their problem.
The only way you can help them at all is if they submit to your authority within the feudal domain God has granted you. That submission is never total; God is their ultimate Master. Rather, it’s a limited and qualified submission that means you don’t have to fight with them in obeying your own calling. It’s wholly contextual, and you may indeed be under their dominion in some issues regarding their calling. The eyes of your heart can see these moral boundaries.
This is the how we live together as a community of faith.